Monday, March 7, 2016

Goodbye, Downton Abbey

Pam and I watched the very last episode of Downton Abbey last night. The fact that someone like me would have watched even one episode of such a show is astonishing now that I think about it. Generally speaking, I've never been particularly fond of the British, with the notable exceptions of Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare, and The Beatles. When I think of England, I think of General Bernard Montgomery of WWII fame, a pompous gasbag who couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper bag, but looked splendid in a uniform having his afternoon tea while George Patton was busy kicking Germany's ass. But, I digress.

Despite my misgivings, this show got it's hooks into me from the very start six years ago. I have spent those six years trying to figure out why. Was it the house? Might it have been the great writing? The richly drawn characters? The fascinating interaction of the classes? The grand sweep of the story?

Yes.

 Although last night's two hour finale wasn't the show's finest hour...everything got wrapped up with too tidy a bow for my taste...it left me sad that it was over. It felt like my one hour a week of civilization has died. Now we can all go back to the sewer of the Presidential election 24/7. Great. But, all good things must come to an end, I'm told. 

So, goodbye to a drama about characters who you cared about. Goodbye to intelligent conversation. Goodbye to that beautiful estate, and that majestic countryside. Goodbye to Carson's prodigious eyebrows, Mrs. Hughes' charming Scottish accent. Goodbye to Daisy's insufferable whining, and Mr. Bates' perpetually tilted head and slumped shoulders. Goodbye to sweet, sweet Anna, the lovably bumbling Mosley, and the constantly harried Mrs. Patmore. But most of all...and I can hardly make myself write it...goodbye to the splendid, unstoppable Dowager Countess, without whom the show would have failed miserably. Watching her for six years on Sunday nights has forced me to add Maggie Smith to my list of most admired Englishmen. What a beauty she was, with her caustic observations, withering one-liners and truly hysterical facial expressions. The woman carried the show, and above all others will be missed, even mourned the most.

Goodbye Downton, and here's hoping that your lasting legacy might prove to be a return to....good manners.